Hey All,
I just got a 4 year old off the track two weeks ago, waited a week and then hopped on him because he was so calm and relaxed. Well needless to say he was PERFECT, stood quietly and was soo relaxed under saddle. however, when I trotted him he was DEAD LAME on his hind right. He had looked a tad off the week before when in turnout but we chalked it up to him over doing it in the pasture since he was loving life out there.

So we got in touch with his track owner and he said that the horse had a bone chip in his right hind fetlock and vet said if they wanted to keep running him he’d need surgery, but with some time off he would be fine for anything else due to the bone chip being in a “good” spot and that it would calcify and be ok.
we’re having the vet look at him tomorrow (X-rays too) but my question is if anyone has had a horse with a bone chip that calcified with time off and returned to work without a problem? Or is surgery almost always needed. If he does need surgery we will go ahead and do it but just wanted to hear other people’s opinions and experiences!

They don’t usually reattach to the bone they came off of if that is what you mean by calcify. I would say chips can be left in place almost as often as they need to be taken out. The dead lame part is concerning however. They tend to range from NQR with maybe a little heat and/or swelling to obviously off but not dead lame. Good luck with the xrays.

If the chip is causing lameness, I would expect it to need to come out. Plenty of chips are left in - but that is usually because they are asymptomatic.

However, keep in mind that the chip may not be the cause of the lameness. You could have an abscess in that foot. Wait and see what the vet has to say.

Dead lame is concerning. The mare I had with chips was dead lame with them only once she was bone on bone with no cartilage left. She was never sound, even once we removed them. I hope you have a better outcome.

I would remove them, post haste.

Remove it and odds are he will be just fine. I bought a ottb who was completely sound and flexed fine but had a chip on his front left fetlock that showed up when Xray. I had it removed, injected the joint, and did a few months of adequan just to be safe. This is what several vets recommended, including UW Madison. Horse was started back under saddle 8 weeks post surgery and never took a wrong step. I’d just have it removed if you are able to afford it because odds are it won’t just get better. I think everything cost around 1600 for me, including the injection. I know another mare who had a chip, was sound, and they let it sit for a few years until she came up lame. The chip ended up floating around in there and causing some more damage by the time they removed it. She recovered just fine and went back to showing prelim but it was a longer recovery.

Thanks everyone! From what ive been reading, surgery and recovery seem super easy. went out today and let him in the round pen for a few minutes for his mental health and he trotted around and wasnt as lame as before. track vet had said some days itll bother him some days it wont but im def leaning towards surgery especially after your positive story, jumpwhat!! He sees the vet tomorrow ill keep you posted on what happens!! Thanks again!

Some chips aren’t operable so taking it out might not even be an option. He should be on stall rest either way in my opinion.

Like Laurierace said, not all chips are the same and not all are able to be successfully removed. The fact that he is not sound warrants a vet check with X-rays and a restricted horse until you know what’s going on, IMO. Talk with your vet, ask for a copy of the X-rays, and don’t be afraid to get second opinions. And add at least $200-300 to whatever prices you are quoted, just to be safe…

My eventing mare had a bone fragment in her rear fetlock and was 3/5 lame. Unfortunately, her distal lateral suspensory was attached to it. My vet consulted a couple of other veterinary surgeons and they felt the fragment (a mid body sesamoid avulsion fracture) needed to come out for her to heal. My total bill for surgery, PRP, 3 shock wave treatments and a couple of ultrasounds was $7000. The very worst part is she won’t be able to return to eventing. I am a worst case scenario but my point was there may be a tendon attached to that fragment.

hey guys! thanks for all your replies! OK. so on saturday I was able to get Jax’s X-rays from the track vet who took them on oct 10. Jax came to me oct 27th, and came up lame that following week. The X-rays show an apical sesamoid fracture, and a small one at that. He is looking better at the trot as well, not as lame as the first few days. Our vet viewed the X-rays and did lameness examination on him and said that for the best prognosis he should have surgery and then 90 days of rest. HOWEVER- the track vet said that time off would be just as beneficial and that after 6 months of rest he’d come back ok. I’m obviously reviewing things with my vet and getting a second (or third) opinion because I want whats best for my boy but has anyone had luck with a sesamoid fracture healing on its own??

I have had sesamoid fractures heal without surgery. I hope you have him on stall rest while you decide what to do.

Send the xrays to the closest surgical facility and veterinarian who specializes in race horses. I don’t know where that is for you but perhaps you could send to New Bolton and have them refer?

Rood and Riddle, Lexington, KY or Hagyard Equine in Lexington would be closer.

But you absolutely want someone who has seen a lot of equine bone chips.

Ok so surgery has been decided- were hoping to get him in there next week before thanksgiving or the week after! He is on stall rest with handwalking to keep his sanity, thanks for all your input and ill keep you updated on how surgery goes!!!